Teen charged with assault after striking woman with snowball from Aspen hotel roof | AspenTimes.com

Teen charged with assault after striking woman with snowball from Aspen hotel roof

A 19-year-old tourist from Chicago allegedly hit a woman walking down the street in the face with a snowball from the roof of a downtown hotel last weekend.

A 19-year-old tourist from Chicago allegedly hit a woman walking down the street in the face with a snowball from the fourth floor roof of a downtown hotel last weekend, according to a police report.

In addition, the teen’s mother allegedly tried repeatedly to shield her son from talking to police and was also charged in the case, the report states.

“We don’t usually write people up for a friendly snowball fight,” Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn said Thursday. “But when someone gets hit like this, it’s way over the line.”

Drew Benson Peters was charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault and Maia Benson, 56, also of Chicago, was charged with obstructing an officer.

“Interestingly, neither Drew or his mother asked about the well-being of the woman who had been hit with the snowball,” Aspen police Officer Roderick O’Connor wrote in his report.

The incident began at 10:45 p.m. on March 18 after a 60-year-old Texas man and his 56-year-old wife told police they’d been walking past the W Hotel on South Spring Street after dinner when the woman was struck in the face with a snowball, according to the police report.

When officers met with the woman, “her lower left lip was red and swollen” and “she was angry,” the report states. She declined an ambulance.

After his wife was hit, the man told police he looked up and saw a young man four stories up on the W Hotel’s pool deck.

“He spoke with the W Hotel security and they told him they had trouble with two 19-year-old males from earlier in the day, who were throwing snowballs from the pool area,” according to the police report, which was requested Monday by The Aspen Times and released Thursday.

O’Connor was unable to track down Peters late Friday night, but received an email from the W Hotel’s director of security when he arrived for work Saturday evening. The security director told him that an employee of the Little Nell Hotel — next door to the W Hotel — had called at 7 a.m. March 18 and said two young men had been throwing snowballs from the W’s fourth-floor pool deck, the report states.

W Hotel security went to the roof at that time, stopped the two 19-year-olds — who admitted throwing the snowballs — and recorded the room in which they were staying. After the Texas woman was struck in the face that night, the W’s security director found a surveillance camera image of the man suspected of throwing the snowball and was able to track him to the same room, according to the police report.

O’Connor knocked on the room’s door about 8 p.m. Saturday but no one answered so he left his card. He returned later the same night, found the card gone, knocked again to no avail and left a second card. At that time, he learned that the occupants of the room were with the occupants of another nearby room, and he knocked on that door.

Benson answered and tried to “negotiate” with O’Connor, who said he was going to charge her son with assault.

“I told her there was no other option,” O’Connor wrote in the report. “I showed her the image of the male (that security) had taken. She did not recognize the male.”

Benson said she’d speak to her son and call the officer back. However, he’d still not heard back after midnight, so he called Benson, who then told him she’d removed his cards “so her son would not worry about why the police were looking for him,” according to O’Connor’s report.

“She told me he was probably at one of the Aspen bars,” O’Connor reported. “I asked her if he had fake identification since he was 19. She told me, ‘No, the bars in Aspen allow people under 21 to come in if they don’t drink.’ I told her that was not the case. She told me that was what her son told her and I must be mistaken.”

O’Connor then left, but still had not heard anything by 12:50 a.m., so he returned to the hotel with an Aspen police sergeant. They knocked on Peters’ door again and received no answer, though they heard activity inside. Benson then came out into hallway and said her son wasn’t answering because he was afraid of the police, the report states.

The officers said they weren’t going anywhere until they spoke to her son, and Benson allegedly became “very evasive,” so the officer “shifted gears,” according to the report.

O’Connor then served Benson with a summons charging her with obstruction.

“I told Benson if her son did not come out I would have an officer waiting for them in the morning as they left for the airport,” O’Connor wrote in the report. “I told her he would miss his flight because he would be arrested, placed in handcuffs and taken to jail.”

Peters then came out of his room and told officers his lawyer told him not to talk to them. O’Connor, who reported that Peters matched the photo W Hotel security provided him of the alleged snowball-thrower, then served Peters with the summons for assault, which is the same as an arrest.


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